Not Just Anything
A New Musical
Not Just Anything is a new musical by Kelly Bidstrup Graham & Caroline Fink about chasing the dreams you didn't think you were allowed to have. The show circles around 6 women who are auditioning for roles in various regional theater performances. The show sits somewhere between slice of life realism and meta-surrealism. It is a pointed commentary on both how far the industry has come in regards to equity and inclusion, and how woefully far it still needs to come.
The show was concieved in 2017 and has been rewritten 5 times as of 2023. Many of the same issues that inspired the show in 2017 are still plagueing the industry today. Writers, composers, and producers of musical theater are still predominantly male and white. Music directors, pit musicians, and directors are all predominantly white and often male.
Not Just Anything questions the status quo and seeks to shake up the normal trajectory that "paying your dues" gets you. The main premise of the show's thesis being, most shows historically have been written by men, most of the roles in those shows are for men. Meaning more men have the oppourtunity to perform on stage. Which translates into more men getting to be directors, music directors, choreographers, and producers as they work their way up the chain, networking during every show and rehearsal process. The wheel perpetuates itself as we as humans tend to write what we know and from the perspectives we understand.
The show's solution, is to write your own story. Share it. Find people who can leaverage their power and privledge to help tell it more broadly. Rinse and repeat, while demanding more equitable stories on stage as patrons and performers. The funny part of writing this show, was realizing how few places there are to take a new musical in progress and have it looked at, workshopped, or even read through as part of a staged reading process. This is where writer and composer Kelly Bidstrup Graham came up with the Co New Musical Festival. Founded in 2020 and taken over by Wellspring BST in 2022. She leveraged what power and privledge she had to create a space where shows like hers could be seen, heard, and shared. Check out that work HERE
A selected cutting of Not Just Anything was streamed as part of the CoNMF in 2020. Directed by P-Jay Adams. Portions of the show were performed again as part of a Wellspring Fundraiser event by the same name in spring of 2022. The show is currently being reworked to include a pianist character who accompany's the show, as previous readings revealed the shows original a capella concept was just not as feasible as originally thought.
For more information or to read a perusal of the current edition email Kelly at Kelsobidstr@gmail.com